PITTSBURGH — Lucas Duda arrived from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday night and will get a run of games to prove if he can be an extra-base threat for the power-starved Mets, who entered Friday night with 40 home runs, third-fewest in the National League.
Duda, 25, played leftfield instead of Jason Bay and had an RBI single and sacrifice fly. He hit .389 with five home runs in his last 10 games at Buffalo and he will start again Saturday and probably Sunday, either in left or at first base. Duda, a 6-4, 255-pound lefthanded hitter, looks like a linebacker. Mets manager Terry Collins wants him to smash the baseball like the slugger he has been in the minors.
“We’re going to juggle some things, make sure Lucas gets some at-bats,” Collins said. “I want to see the swings that I know he has. I’m not asking him to hit homers. I know from the other times he’s been here — because I’ve seen him — I know there’s a better swing in there.”
Duda was a career .183 hitter in the majors going into Friday. He was 2-for-20 earlier this season before being sent down.
“He’s red-hot ,” Collins said. “So let’s see what he can do. We all know that if this guy swings the bat like he’s capable, he’ll stay. The ceiling on this guy offensively is very, very high.”
Said Duda: “I think the last couple times I’ve been up, I haven’t been too confident in myself.” Asked why, he said: “It’s the big leagues . . . It’s your goal in life. It’s your dream. You get kind of nervous a little. At least I do . . . I’d say it’s a pretty big leap, for myself.”